Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Gingerbread Houses

So, to start a holiday tradition at the Shipp household, Trevor and I made holiday gingerbread houses this year out of graham crackers, cream cheese icing (only the best!) and assorted candies we picked out. We made them about a week before Christmas and it was actually really fun to tap into my kid/creative side for a while!

I also loved the fact that our kitchen table got seriously messy--kind of like it used to when my brother and I would play with Play-Doh as kids :)Here's Trevor hard at work (and also in desperate need of a haircut!):
I worked hard on my house and used a plastic bag to help me squeeze out clean-looking icing lines. The next four pictures are the four sides of my home... Front (notice my green Santa gummy bear on top with his chocolate chip hat):
Right side:
Back (watch out for the giant worm!):
Left side:
I was pretty happy that it stayed in tact and that it turned out really pretty! Of course I had to take a picture with it:
Here's the front view of Trevor's creation, which kept wanting to cave in toward the end. We caught this picture really quickly before it completely collapsed (he has a Santa bear too!):
And this picture just makes me laugh! It's just so appropriate! :) Trevor's collapsed little gingerbread house on the left and my sturdy, "perfect" one on the right. Now, I don't want to say that this picture serves to represent our personalities because that wouldn't be fair to Trevor... but... in reality the picture really is quite fitting... :)
It was a fun little tradition that we started that hopefully we'll continue throughout the years! I'm sure it will get more fun when we have kids who are excited about it! More Christmas pictures to come!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

BYU Basketball

The first weekend in December, Trevor and I joined Randy and Jenny Buck up in Salt Lake at the Energy Solutions Arena to attend a BYU Basketball game! I'm still not sure why it was in Salt Lake, but it was a good excuse to go up there! During the drive up, the first big snowstorm of the season blew through Salt Lake! It was so exciting to finally see some snow, even if it was REALLY cold outside!

The Cougars played the University of San Francisco and we killed them! Always fun to do things with friends :)It was fun because I've never been that close to the floor in the Energy Solutions Arena before! :) Maybe one day we can get this close watching the Jazz! This was the view from our seats (after we moved here from our less-desirable designated seats). And I had to take this picture of the little guys playing a scrimmage game during half time. They really were awesome! Look at this shot... can you spot the ball?:
Afterward, Trevor and I got a little more Christmas shopping done at the Gateway mall. But it was hard to stay patient because it's an outdoor mall... and it had just snowed! Overall, it was a fun date and a great trip to Salt Lake!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Very First Thanksgiving Dinner!

After we had Thanksgiving day at the church in Heber, we decided to try and make a Thanksgiving dinner on our own. I was mainly inspired by the cooking class we went to where a friend in our ward showed us how simple it could be to make a delicious turkey! So, I wanted to give it a try, despite my tiny stove, oven, and kitchen in general. So we invited Dave and Heidi over for Sunday dinner at our house. Thanks for being our guinea pigs! :)

We pulled our little kitchen table over into the living room to give us a bit more room to eat and so all four of us could squeeze around the table. Here's the table all set and waiting for food:And due to my lack of oven space, I had to ask our neighbors for the use of their oven to bake a couple things. Seen here are the delicious yams, green bean casserole, and the cranberry cake I attempted to make. I think I baked it a few minutes too long even though it was still 10 minutes less than was called for (thank you, high altitude, for making baking SO simple... blah). But yes, I had to use my end table as a serving table because I honestly had no room anywhere else! Haha
The stove was also full all night. At one point we had the potatoes boiling, gravy cooking, stuffing being mixed, and cranberry sauce simmering all at once. Here's the DELICIOUS cranberry sauce that Trev's sister Meghan gave us the recipe for. It did make quite a bit of sauce, however, and I should have halved it but didn't really have time to think about it! But... considering I've never really been a fan of cranberry sauce, this was AMAZING. I actually couldn't get enough. You could definitely taste and smell the cinnamon and orange in it:
Here's our table trying to fit all our food and drink and condiments and everything on the table. It was so small. I look forward to having a nice, big, STURDY kitchen table one day, where the whole thing won't shake when someone's cutting their turkey! Haha. But the food still looks delicious as I look at it now! :)
I'm taking the picture, hence not being in it, but here are Trevor with the Kimball's. Trev's tie looks weird because he had to loosen it and put it behind him when dressing the turkey. After it almost dipped in the turkey juices once, he learned his lesson. We also didn't want it to catch on fire from the oven either. Haha. Oh dear.
So... the results? Well... it ACTUALLY wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! Making the food itself is quite simple. What makes it all tricky is the timing of the dishes so they all are ready when the turkey's ready and not before other things or they get cold!

But we got great reviews on the food! Dave and Heidi said the turkey was actually quite juicy and tender--so much so that they actually enjoyed the turkey this time, whereas they usually aren't too huge on it! I felt the same way. I was quite proud of my first turkey, despite the fact it was still a little bit pink on the very inside and we had to make sure to cut around it! Everything else was great, as well, my personal favorite being my Nana's yam recipe and that cranberry sauce! :) So good!

I am glad to say that I overcame the fear of making a turkey and that it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. We'll see if we make a tradition of doing this yearly... maybe, maybe not. I'm still young enough that I should be enjoying someone ELSE's cooking on Thanksgiving. I feel it's a rite you have to earn--being able to be the "Thanksgiving chef". But hey - now I know I CAN do it and it's actually pretty fun! :)

Happy Late Turkey Day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Much-Needed Trip to the Salon

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to see Hailey (I'm not sure if that's spelled right) at Serendipity Salon in Payson. She's been doing my sister-in-law Meghan's hair for years so I thought I'd try her out since I always love Meghan's hair! :)

She was really fun and I was more than glad to have my hair re-vamped for winter. I got a little brave and had her give me side-swept bangs too! Here are two pictures. I can't tell if the one with or without the flash is better so here's both:
Unfortunately, she was much better at blow-drying my hair straight than I am and it's been a struggle to make it all look this cute (especially the bangs) since I got it cut. I may call her and have her remind me what products she used because my hair felt SO good and now it just feels dry again. And I've asked Trevor for a Chi straightener for Christmas so hopefully I can have a much better straightener than the one I have now.

Anyway, I'm just glad that I have a little bit more color back on the top of my head where my natural color had grown in a lot. It makes cold weather a bit more enjoyable when you have warm-colored hair! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday Trevor!

My sweet husband turned a whole quarter century old on Thursday, November 26th (a.k.a. Thanksgiving this year). I don't think he minds too much when his birthday is lumped together with a holiday full of food and family! We had thanksgiving with Trevor's family up in Heber City at the church near his Grandma's house.

After eating lots of good food, we sat and talked for a while and then we stuck candles in Trevor's pie and sang to him! Then he was given a few gifts from some family members. This first picture is the cute card his mom gave him. She didn't make it (she often makes really cute cards) but said it just reminded her of him when she saw it. I think it's fantastic and it TOTALLY reminds me of Trevor too! :)Here he is fake-smiling for the camera because I told him to. Well!? I needed to document the moment for posterity! Please note the cute sweater/undershirt duo - birthday present courtesy of ME! :) He can change up his teal undershirt with a wine colored one!
One of his favorite gifts, of course: Golf Balls! :)
And these cupcakes weren't actually made for Trevor's birthday. In fact I made them a couple weeks before (funfetti cake mix with chocolate icing and pretty sprinkles), but it just seems appropriate to include it in this post. Don't they look delicious!? :)
Trevor's birthday was pretty fun! Other than the shirts, he got a few more birthday gifts including Peanut M&Ms and Sarah Palin's new book!

Happy Birthday Trevor! I love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Favorite Things

It's been far too long since I've made a blog post, but honestly, I've had nothing to post about. Really. No pictures, no incredible happenings, nothing fantastic outside of normal life and getting ready for the holidays.

So, I've decided to be like Oprah and have a "My Favorite Things" list. Haha. We'll see how this goes and I'll try to provide pictures as aids to my list.

1. My new favorite music of all time: OWL CITY! The group (or really just a guy named Adam Young) came out with a new album lately called Ocean Eyes. My favorite song is "Fireflies". You may have heard it on the radio. Or maybe not. But I highly recommend it!2. These adorable Naughty Monkey boots that I got for my birthday from Trevor. They are quite possible the cutest and most comfy boots I've ever owned. They make me feel like a rock star when I wear them with black leggings and a sweater dress! :) And it's kind of hard to tell in the picture, but the little wedge heels are black.3. Special moments with Trevor. Seriously, sometimes I just feel so blessed when we're just sitting there cuddling and laughing for a few minutes. This usually happens when Trevor's trying to put off work or homework, and just wants a minute to be with me. It seriously makes my heart smile. I am glad that we have more of these happy moments than unhappy ones :) Today, Trevor texted me that he loved me and I texted back that I loved him too. He then replied "Hooray! We still love each other after 18 months of marriage!" to which I replied "We're doing it! We're really doing it!". It's so exciting to look back and see that, despite many odds, our love has grown tremendously for each other over the last year and a half of marriage. I look forward to the next 18 months and eternity as well.

4. Feeling like I really accomplished something that I didn't expect I could do. Like finally get the water heater fixed at one of the apartments I manage. I walked into Lowe's and managed (with a lot of help!) to walk out with this burner assembly:That fits perfectly in here:Fortunately, I had a guy who actually put it together for me. But I learned far more than I ever thought I would about hot water heaters. And I have now decided that there are at least two things I'll always someone else fix for me: 1. Hot water heaters and 2. Cars. Yowzers! These things just have too many little parts that have to work together perfectly in order to work right. I'm not touchin' them! :)

5. Baking. Yep. I'm not a huge huge fan of cooking, but I really do love to bake. I guess it's because I can do it, and I'm usually pretty good at it! Speaking of, I have about 1403927 frozen bananas in my freezer that I need to make into delicious bread. My favorite recipe can be found here. And here's the picture:I've made this recipe about 4 or 5 times now and I LOVE it! :) So, go check it out and let me know. In addition, I've seen some fantastic looking holiday cakes that I'm tempted to make this season. However, this means I'll have to get a cake stand. There's nothing to make a cake look pretty like a beautiful stand! I'm particular to the glass varieties:6. Well. This one is obvious but YOGA is still one of my favorite things. And good news - I'm still planning on certifying to become an instructor! Certification begins on February 22nd, 2010 and lasts four weeks. I am SO excited for February! :)

7. And to end my current list of favorite things, I'd have to say FOX television. No no no... not the NEWS. Garsh. The NETWORK! :) And two shows in particular...

I highly recommend dedicating two hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday night to these shows. They truly are awesome :)

Well, I think that about ends my list for now. Of course, chocolate definitely is one of my favorite things but it's so normal that I didn't feel it deserved to make the list. My other favorite thing in the WORLD is sleeping. I am so good at it and it always makes me feel so wonderful!!!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my list. Maybe you'll even be reminded of some of YOUR favorite things!! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009: Murder Mystery!

For Halloween night, Trevor and I attended a Murder Mystery dinner hosted by Shawn and Jana Porter and planned by Dave and Heidi Kimball. All of our friends were there: 5 couples!! The best part about a pre-planned party is that we were assigned our costumes based on the roles we were going to play. It was so nice not having to think of what I wanted to dress up as! Here we are as Madame Aretha Garlique (fortune teller/vampire/Queen of the Undead Mafia) and Asthmadeus, Prince of Dimness (Younger brother of the Devil, gambler, and royal PANSY haha)!!For the next picture: From L to R are Asthmadeus, Hannibal Schecter, Lizzie Bordeaux, Glumda the Wicked Witch of Depressed, (oh no! I can't remember Cole's - something about the Rogers and Hammerstein monster), and Angela Deth, DDS.
And here's a terrible shot of the gorgeous table the Porters had set up for us (with gorgeous china!!) so we could enjoy our sparkling cider and fondue! You may be able to spot the fondue pots on the table :)
And these next three were my attempt of getting a good picture of Trevor in character. Although the lighting was terrrrrible on this first one, I still think the grainyness adds a cool effect. I guess this is his "scary sexy devil face". And yes, he DOES have eyeliner on - to give his eyes the creepy evil look. Everyone kept saying how pretty his eyes were! If my girls end up looking more like their Dad than their Mom, I don't think I'll have reason to complain! :) Haha
Trying to get a "blue steel" shot, but he cracked up laughing right as I took the picture! I love his squinty-eyed laugh!
And, we achieved the blue steel lips! Again. Notice the eyes! And those cheekbones! Haha oh dear.
Well, Halloween ended up being REALLY fun! The fondue was great, the friends were fantastic, the game was pretty interesting, and my belly was STUFFED by the end of the night!

When we arrived home we had no candy left in the bowl we sat out for the trick-or-treaters. We later found out at church that our neighbors had protected one group of kids from taking it all... but we're pretty sure some teenage boy finished the whole bowl off for us when no one was looking. Grrr. Well - at least I saved a bag of Kit Kats in my house for us to eat for a couple days. I guess it's better NOT to have a lot of leftover candy. Let the stinkin' teenager have rotting teeth and a bellyache! Who needs that?!?! :)

Happy Halloween 2009!~!~!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Freaky Forests and Peculiar Pumpkins

Last Saturday, October 24th, Trevor and I went to the Haunted Forest in American Fork with Dave and Heidi. We all admitted it was pretty fun, although we must be getting "old" because we were all a little tired by the end of it! This picture was taken by timer with the camera sitting on the back of Trevor's car in the pitch black. I'd say we aimed pretty good! (Although I cropped out a lot of empty blackness from the top right haha):
On Halloween, Trevor and I had a lot of fun! We found time to finally carve our pumpkins! Here's the before:
And the afters:
And Ours:
And, of course, I wanted to take a picture with both of us with our Halloween pumpkins, so we tried to get creative with the timer. The floor on top of a book:On the window ledge facing the living room:
More to come about our fantastically fun Halloween night in the next post! :) Stay tuned.

Oh - and Trevor calls his pumpkin a Picasso pumkin because it's just not like your normal jack-o-lanterns! Apparently he was going to add a bunch more teeth, but got irritated after the first two took so long that he just chopped a giant hole for the pumpkin's mouth. Haha... oh sweetie! Patience is a virtue! But I still really like the way it turned out :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goodbye Old-School Food Zapper!

Just over a year ago, when we were about to move out of our sub-lease for the summer, our wonderful neighbors--The Underwoods--gave us an old microwave they didn't need anymore. Yep. They gave it to us for free. We knew when we got it that it wasn't the perfect microwave. It was starting to get old and didn't have all the zapping juice necessary to heat things at full power. So, no popcorn, no baked potatoes, and it took twice as long to heat the normal frozen or canned foods. But we didn't care! We were so glad to adopt this little appliance into our family. It definitely beat not having a microwave at all!Well, this little guy served faithful and held up (for the most part) for another whole year!! We'd been using it since the end of August 2008. Well, the other night, when Trev went for his second frozen burrito, the poor thing had just had enough. It got really hot, started smelling funny, and just *blip* stopped heating. Well, this had happened before when I attempted to cook baked potatoes in the microwave. After a good 8 minutes of heating, the poor thing gives out, only to resuccitate itself a couple hours later. "So," I said, "give it a little while". And, sure enough, it was working again the next morning! But this time was a little different... it still made a funny smell and began to overheat. I feared the worst: Our little old-school microwave had finally reached the end of its good, long life. *Sniffle*

So, what's a girl to do when her microwave dies? Why, find a shiny new one, of course! So, I headed out to BB&B with gift cards and came home with this slick little piece of plastic and metal:Ohhh! Fancy! It has beepy buttons! AND a digital clock! Now I will no longer have to sneak around the corner to check the clock in the living room to see if I'm running late in the morning while chowing down on cereal! Wahoo!

Well, despite the perks, I'm really gonna miss my old school food zapper! :( It has a place close to my heart--serving the Shipps so well for over a year! It's sometimes fun to make-do with "ghetto" things. Those are the quirks you remember most, you know? I told Trevor I wanted to offer it to some other couple who would put it to more use, but he reminded me that it really wasn't worth anything anymore, and that we would just need to throw it away. With a twinge of sadness in my heart, Trevor and I marched our little appliance to the dumpster, and softly dropped it inside.

I hope that little white microwave brings joy to other appliances in the landfill. And then I hope, once it's gone for good and forever, that it has a happy eternity in appliance heaven.

Alright - I know. I need to get over my odd attachment to inanimate objects. I'm working on it, okay!?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

I LOVE Fall!

I really do love fall! It's such a fantastic season! And this fall has not failed to impress me! All starting with our drive through the canyon last month to see the wonderful colors, and now those colors have reached the valley! It's so nice to drive and be surrounded by bright yellows and reds, but still with subtle hints of green trying to hold on until the last moment possible. What I'm most upset about is that I haven't taken the time to snap photos of any of these wonderful colors!

So, in the spirit of fall, I felt like grabbing a couple new fall decorations to enliven my home. Here's my newest little find: a fall bouquet to dress up my little kitchen table...Oh! And I cant forget to mention that Trevor and I made a trip to the pumpkin patch in Springville last week to pick out our Halloween pumpkins! The patch had only been open 3 days, so we didn't have to choose from the leftovers!! :) And, as you can also see in the picture above, I got a mini pumpkin and some colorful gourds to put in a basket to make my kitchen table even MORE festive for fall!

With fall comes the crisp, cool air. And with this cool air comes my desire to cook warm, hearty dishes that warm you from the inside out. Last Sunday I made a delicious corn chowder:
Yesterday was a really fun day as well. It was such a beautiful day, and I'm glad I got to take advantage of it! First, I went to Jana's baby shower. I'm SO mad I forgot to take pictures!!!! I really need to get back in the groove! But it was wonderful to chat, see all her cute little baby spoils, and eat delicious food--including my all-time favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Yet another perk of fall!

After the baby shower, I went to meet up with Trevor, who was playing tennis with a friend! It really was a beautiful day! After watching him play tennis for a bit, Dave and Heidi invited us to go play GOLF!! Well... I've never actually played golf before. Sure, a little driving range here or there, and a lot of putt-putt, but never actually played a full course of golf. But, hey, why not? You've got to have a first time sometime, right? I actually did okay, I think, for my first time playing. But, it wasn't without it's frustrating moments. My favorite part was that Dave had found this wonderful pink ball when he was playing earlier and he gave it to me to use!! I'll try to keep it forever because it's my favorite:Well, after golf, I went to hang out with Meghan and Jana a little more. Meghan and I went to Taco Bell to get the new Blackjack Taco, which I have currently become obsessed with. It really is SO good. Haha... what a funny thing to love so much! The whole day really was wonderful, just taking full advantage of a wonderful October day and crystal blue skies.

I hope your weekend was just as happy as mine! Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trev's New Toy

A couple of weeks ago, Trevor decided to move on from his desk job at PMI to give him more time to work on schoolwork as well as his parking enforcement business. However, for the last year he had been using a nice Dell laptop issued to him by the company. So... of course, when he left, he had to turn in the laptop. Sure- he still had his old, slow HP laptop to work with, but he knew that old dinosaur just wouldn't cut it for the things he needed it to do. Only way to solve the problem? Buy a NEW laptop! :)

So, after work one day, I met him down at Best Buy to check out the computer he thought he wanted - a pretty nice HP laptop. As I was there with him, I thought the HP laptop would probably be okay, but I noticed it still was just a big, heavy thing. AAANNDDD I've had my eye on those Mac computers for a while now. So, using my female persuasive powers, I led Trevor over to the Mac computer section and helped him realize that he really did want a Mac. :) And he really did want one, I mean, who doesn't? :) So, a laptop, the Word suite for Mac, and a mouse later, Trev was all suited up for his new life with his darling little laptop!As soon as we got home, he was on the sofa, booting it up! And it talked to us! And it's lightning fast! And has a WEBCAM!! WoOoOo! So I've been experimenting with the world of Skype and Gmail Video Chat!
It really is such a darling computer. I love the little apple. Haha. I am SUCH a nerd. But hey - I have a darling husband to go with it!